18 days to World Cup: Zimbabwe's infamous losing streak that lasted for almost a decade

After the big win against Australia, Zimbabwe did not win another game until the 1992 World Cup as they lost 18 matches on the trot. 

Published: 12th May 2019 10:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th May 2019 10:29 PM   |  A+A-

Zimbabwe's Wayne James (L) falls to the ground whilst trying to run out Sri Lanka's Arjuna Ranatunga (C) during the World Cup Cricket match between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka on February 23, 1992 in New Plymouth.

Zimbabwe's Wayne James (L) falls to the ground whilst trying to run out Sri Lanka's Arjuna Ranatunga (C) during the World Cup Cricket match between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka on February 23, 1992 in New Plymouth. (Photo | AFP)

Online Desk

Zimbabwe had a dream start to their World Cup campaign when they debuted in 1983. Playing against  Australia in their first match of cricket's grandest tournament, Zimbabwe defeated Kim Hughes' men by 13 runs to register an upset victory.

Former India coach Duncan Fletcher was adjudged as the Man of the Match for his all-round efforts as he scored an important 69 off 84 deliveries to lead his side's recovery as they put up 239 runs on board in 60 overs.

He then came back to put regular breaks on Australia's batting,  grabbing four wickets for 42 runs in 11 overs to restrict them to 226/7.

After the big win, Zimbabwe did not win another game until the 1992 World Cup as they lost 18 matches on the trot. 

During the course, they lost to every team which featured in those World Cups except England with India being their worst nightmare. Zimbabwe lost all five matches against India during this period with their closest chance of a victory coming in 1983 World Cup when the African-side had Kapil Dev's men reduced to 17/5 before the Haryana Hurricane unleashed his magic.

Kapil scored 175 runs to help India reach 266/8 in 60 overs and the skittle Zimbabwe out for 235 runs.

After beating Australia in their World Cup debut, Zimbabwe could never repeat the feat as they lost four games to them.

They lost three games each to West Indies and New Zealand across two editions while losing one apiece to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa, whom they only faced during the 1992 World Cup.

They finally broke the jinx when they beat England in a close encounter during their last group stage game at 1992 World Cup. England, who were the eventual runners-up, won the toss and elected to field first. 

Their plan worked well as they bowled Zimbabwe out for 134 with Ian Botham and Richard Illingworth taking three wickets each.

While chasing the modest target, England was undone by paceman Eddo Brandes who took four wickets and gave away just 21 runs to script a historic nine-run win to break the infamous streak.

The 18-match losing streak still stands as the longest by any team in World Cup cricket.

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